Buffalo Marathon 

Back in January I signed up for the Buffalo Marathon. After running the Marine Corps Marathon in October and not hitting my goal, I was determined to run another marathon. Enter Buffalo! I wanted to train for a spring marathon and Buffalo seemed right–it was flat, decently-sized and not too far (4.5 hour drive from Albany).

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My friend Jenna also signed up, with Buffalo being her first marathon. We arrived in Buffalo Saturday afternoon with enough time to hit up the expo (decent expo!) and enjoy the pre-race party. I got a free beer at the party with a purchase of a Buffalo Marathon pint glass. Score!

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We grabbed dinner at a restaurant near our hotel. We stayed downtown so we could walk easily to and from the start and finish of the race. After doing this race thing a few times, I’ve learned what I like to do–and paying a little extra to stay right near the race is totally worth it.

The race started at 7:00am on Sunday. We got up around 5am so we could eat and get dressed, and get to the start at about 6:30. I wanted to exchange my race shirt for a smaller size and starting at 6am I could see if they had any left. Thankfully, they did!

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Buffalo kind of reminds me of a bigger version of Albany.

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And we were off! My main goal for this race was to enjoy it. After having such a miserable run back in October, I wanted to enjoy my next marathon. My training didn’t go as well as I had wanted, but I knew I got two decent 18  milers in and was hoping that was enough to prepare me for another 26.2.

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The course itself was great. It was flat and had some very pretty areas. We ran by Lake Erie and through some nice neighborhoods and parks. It was a good tour of Buffalo!

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The red bibs were half marathoners. They were everywhere! Marathoners were few and far between. Especially once we broke off at the 12.5 mile mark. It was a dead zone!

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I believe this was the 10K point, which is also downhill, and mile 25! The next time I’d be seeing this stretch I’d almost be done.

Starting from the beginning I felt really good. I kept telling myself “today is going to be the day” because I felt so strong and positive. I never hit the wall! Miles ticked by pretty quickly and soon I was at mile 20 with a 10K to go. I didn’t carry water, so I drank a mix of Gatorade and water at every stop. On the course I ate a Belvita bar, two Honey Stinger Waffles and a Gu + Caffeine. I’ve finally figured out that I need to eat real food during really long runs because Gus just don’t provide me with enough energy. Belvita bars and Stinger Waffles seem to work great.

At mile 25 we were running downhill and I actually had energy and picked up my pace. One volunteer told me how strong I looked and that “I had this!” –I felt amazing. We rounded a corner and there was the finish.

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The time on my Garmin said 4:44:22, a 10 minute PR! (My previous marathon PR is from Vermont City in 2012–exactly two years ago).

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SO HAPPY!

Jenna finished not too far behind me. She did AMAZING for her first marathon! So proud of her!

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raceanalysis

It’s pretty crazy that my fastest pace was at the end of the marathon, but I’ll take it. Overall, I was extremely happy with this race and I really enjoyed it. Another one for the books. And another marathon pint glass for the collection!

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Steel Rail Half Marathon

Sunday morning Jordan and I drove over to Lanesborough, Massachusetts for the Steel Rail Half Marathon. I had wanted to run this race last year but didn’t get a chance to, so I signed up this year. It is advertised as being flat and fast since it’s on a paved rail trail that runs from Lanesborough to Adams, Massachusetts with views of the Berkshire Mountains. There is also a free beer from Berkshire Brewing Company waiting at the finish!

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[source]

The race started at 9:30 so we didn’t have to get up at an ungodly hour to drive the morning of. It was about an hour drive from Troy and despite getting lost once we still got there with a half hour to spare. I picked up my packet (no lines!) and chatted with Jona, who was also running the race, while we waited for the race to start.

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The race began and it was warm and getting warmer by the minute. The first two miles were laps around the Berkshire Mall’s parking lot. I could have done without those miles for sure. Finally, we got on the rail trail and were greeted with some stunning views.

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The first five or six miles were pretty brutal. My legs were feeling heavy and I just didn’t feel it. I honestly wanted to quit the race and actually thought this race might be my first ever DNF. However, spotting Jordan at one of the spectator spots around mile 9 I gave him my heart rate monitor (it was chaffing!) and continued on. I started to feel much better and ran the rest of the race feeling great.

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Before I knew it I was at the end. The medals are awesome. I enjoyed a Steel Rail Pale Ale along with some BBQ they were selling at the finish line. Delicious!

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Overall it was a nice race, despite the almost too-warm weather. I would run it again!

Steel Rail Half Marathon – #19
13.1 miles
2:20:11
10:41/mile average pace

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Noonmark Mountain

Now that the semester is over, I have free time again! Time to do some more hiking. Saturday Christine and I went up to the high peaks area to hike Noonmark Mountain, a smaller mountain near some of the 46. It is also part of the 100-highest peaks in the Adirondacks.

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We parked at the lot for Giant & Rocky Peak since the AMR lot was full. We just had to cross the road and walk over to the trailhead for Noonmark.

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The trail wasn’t too tough until we got closer to the top. There were rocks to scramble! It was pretty steep.

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And there were views for days.

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And we weren’t even at the summit yet!

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A few ladders too, which reminded me of hiking Blake and Crane.

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At the summit we relaxed for a bit and ate our lunches. It was nice not to be rushed because it was such a short hike. Usually we get worried about running out of daylight.

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There were awesome views of the Great Range from up here.

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This was the 7th mountain that Christine and I have hiked together (five of them were high peaks), and only our third summit picture! I have a feeling there will be more to come this summer!

Noonmark Mountain
~5 mi RT from AMR
Elevation: 3556′
Ascent: 2,175′

Café de Colombia and How to Make Iced Coffee

My favorite way to start the day is sipping a cup of coffee while I get ready for work or school. It is just so relaxing for me! I recently had the opportunity to try some coffee from Cafe de Colombia, coffee straight from Colombia. They really value their coffee beans and are proud of the Colombian farmers that grow the beans.

beans

(source)

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They sent me an awesome coffee package including a small french press (one of my favorite ways to brew coffee), a mug, and coffee beans!

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I wish you could smell these beans! They smell divine.

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The coffee they sent me was a lighter roast. Normally I drink dark roast coffee, but this was a nice change.I made a cup of hot coffee the other morning, and it was one of the smoothest cups I’ve ever had. It had no bitterness at all and was actually creamy. To learn more about their coffee, check out their website: The Bean Bang Theory.

One of my favorite ways to drink coffee in the summer is cold-brewed. It is actually fairly easy!

Ingredients/Equipment

French Press

Coarsely Ground Coffee

Cold Water

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Instructions

Step 1 – Measure out coffee grinds. For my large 34-oz french press, I scoop out 5 scoops of coffee and add it to the french press.

Step 2- Add cold water and stir

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Step 3 – Cover with tin foil and let sit in the fridge overnight

Step 4 – Take out of fridge in the AM and stir again

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Step 5 – Press the coffee!

Step 6 – Pour and enjoy! This is my absolute favorite way to make iced coffee.

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Cafe de Colombia is going to offer a lucky reader a chance to win some of their coffee! Just leave a comment on this post to enter! I’ll pick a winner in a week.

Blue Mountain Firetower

The weather here for the past week and half has been just amazing. I took the opportunity to head back up North for a hike to get the legs back into climbing. I decided on Blue Mountain, right outside the small town of Blue Mountain Lake, close to the Adirondack Museum. The trailhead is located just north of the museum on the opposite side Route 28N. A two mile trek one-way, this hike seemed like the perfect one to try out on my own for the first time!

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Technically I wasn’t 100% alone. Jordan and I were pet-sitting for some friends over the weekend, so I took along Zahra, one of the most well-behaved dogs I have ever met! She made such a great hiking partner!

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It was a little warm and buggy, but it was the trail was surprisingly dry, until we got a little higher. There were some icy spots at the higher elevations, but nothing too bad. I didn’t have to break out the microspikes.

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The last half mile is pretty steep and slippery since it is mostly bare rock. I had some flashbacks of hiking Allen at the end of last summer. After about an hour and 15 minutes of climbing, we made it to the top!

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Blue Mountain has an open firetower, which supposedly has amazing views. I didn’t go up because of the dog, but I would definitely consider hiking again on a day that was a bit more clear.

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I ate my lunch and chatted with some boy scouts while sitting on top. Then we wandered over to the other side of the summit for a better lookout.

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The descent back down went by quick, another woman hiking on her own started up some friendly conversation and we happily chatted the entire way down.

I wasn’t nervous to hike by myself, as I did my research on the route. It was only 2 miles long and located in a somewhat populated area of the Adirondacks. It is also a very popular hike because of the firetower. The trail was marked with red trail markers so it was easy to follow. I’m very confident in my hiking ability now and felt quite at home on the trail. I made sure to tell Jordan and my family where I would be hiking and gave them the address of the trailhead. I also carry a GPS emergency locator in case anything goes wrong, along with the 10 essentials.

Blue Mountain
Elevation:
3,759
Ascent:
1,496′
Distance:
4.2 mi RT

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